Medicinal Herbs used in Wildcrafted Herbal Products' Therapeutic Creams and Compounds

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Medicinal Herb: Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis)

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The plant is a native of Canada and the eastern United States, the chief States producing it being Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, New York and in Canada, Ontario. Most of the commercial supplies are obtained from the Ohio Valley, the chief market being Cincinnati. It is scarce east of the Alleghany Mountains, having become quite rare in New York State, where it has been almost exterminated by collectors. It is found in the rich soil of shady woods and moist places at the edge of wooded lands.

It is a small perennial herb, with a horizontal, irregularly knotted, bright yellow root-stock, from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch thick, giving off slender roots below and marked with scars of the flower-stems of previous years. The flowering stem, which is pushed up early in the spring, is from 6 to 12 inches high, erect, cylindrical, hairy, with downward-pointing hairs, especially above, surrounded at the base with a few short, brown scales. It bears two prominently-veined and wrinkled, dark green, hairy leaves, placed high up, the lower one stalked, the upper stalkless, roundish in outline, but palmately cut into 5 to 7 lobes, the margins irregularly and finely toothed. There is one solitary radical leaf on a long foot-stalk, similar in form to the stem leaves, but larger, when full-grown being about 9 inches across.

The flower, which is produced in April, is solitary, terminal, erect, small, with three small greenish-white sepals, falling away immediately after expansion, no petals and numerous stamens. The fruit is a head of small, fleshy, oblong, crimson berries, tipped with the persistent styles and containing one or two hard black, shining seeds. It is ripe in July and has much the appearance of a Raspberry (whence the name 'Ground Raspberry'), but is not edible.



Golden Seal

Biological Name:
Hydrastis canadensis

Other Names:
Golden Seal, yellow paint root, orange root, yellow puccoon, ground raspberry, eye root, yellow Indian plant, turmeric root, Ohio curcuma, eye balm, yellow eye, jaundice root

Parts Used:
dried root and rhizome

Active Compounds:
The two primary alkaloids are hydrastine and berberine, along with smaller amounts of canadine. Berberine, which ranges from 0.5-6.0% of the alkaloids present in goldenseal root and rhizome, has been the most extensively researched. It appears to have a wide spectrum of antibiotic activity against pathogens, such as Chlamydia species, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, and Entomeba histolytica.

Golden Seal was used by the American Indians as a treatment for irritations and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. It was commonly used topically for skin and eye infections. Because of its anti-microbial activity, Golden Seal has a long history of use for infectious diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and vaginal infections. Golden Seal is often recommended in combination with echinacea for the treatment of colds and flu.

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:
The American aborigines valued the root highly as a tonic, stomachic and application for sore eyes and general ulceration, as well as a yellow dye for their clothing and weapons.

Related Product

Related Product 2Wildcrafted's Antiseptic Cream is one of our therapeutic creams used for minor skin infections, cuts, scratches and abrasions.

It contains Echinacea purpurea, Hydrastis Canadensis, Commiphora mol-mol, and Calendula officinalis.

...more information

It is official in most Pharmacopoeias, several of which refer to its yellowing the saliva when masticated.

The action is tonic, laxative, alterative and detergent, opthalmicum, antiperiodic, aperient, diuretic, antiseptic, deobstruent.

It is a valuable remedy in the disordered conditions of the digestion and has a special action on the mucous membrane, making it of value as a local remedyin various forms of catarrh. In chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum, injections of Golden Seal are often of great service, and it has been used in haemorrhoids with excellent results, the alkaloid Hydrastine having an astringent action. The powder has proved useful as a snuff for nasal catarrh.

It is employed in dyspepsia, gastric catarrh, loss of appetite and liver troubles. As a tonic, it is of extreme value in cases of habitual constipation, given as a powder, combined with any aromatic. It is an efficient remedy for sickness and vomiting.

Useful for:
    Common cold/sore throat
    Crohn's disease
    Recurrent ear infection
    Urinary tract infection

Jethro Kloss describes this herb as "the most wonderful remedies in the entire herb kingdom. It does seem like a cure all after looking at all it can do."

Specifically used for digestive system such as stomach disorders, acute inflammations, liver troubles. It exerts a special influence on all the mucous membranes and tissues with which it comes in contact. Excels for open sores, inflammations, eczema, ringworm, erysipelas, skin diseases, nausea during pregnancy.

In combination with skullcap and red pepper it will relieve and strengthen the heart.

Excellent remedy for tonsillitis, diphtheria, and other serious throat troubles. Also for chronic catarrh of the intestines and all catarrhal conditions, as well as for improving appetite and digestion.

Other indications include:
  • Blood purifier; good digestive tonic for those with normal digestion; central nervous system stimulent; antiseptic (wounds); powerful antibiotic and immune system stimulant; used as a spring tonic.
  • Used for liver disorders.
  • Used for ulcerations of mucosal surfaces (as external wash): gums, gum diseases, as eyewash for conjunctivitis, wounds, eczema, ringworm
  • Used for colds (reduces mucous discharge); sinus infection; hay fever; cystitis.
Most people take 4-6 grams of powdered Golden Seal root and rhizome supplements per day as tablets or capsules.

For liquid herbal extracts, 4-6 ml are used.

Continuous use should not exceed three weeks, with a break of at least two weeks between use. Golden Seal powder as a tea or tincture may soothe a sore throat.

Taken as recommended, Golden Seal is generally safe. However, as with all alkaloid-containing plants, high amounts may lead to gastrointestinal distress and possible nervous system effects. Golden Seal is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

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